As It Happens

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt says it's time for her party to rebuild

It's a difficult day for Conservatives across Canada. After winning in her riding of Milton, outgoing cabinet minister Lisa Raitt says it’s time for the party to take a hard look at what went wrong.
An emotional Conservative Party candidate Lisa Raitt hugs a supporter after a speech at EddieO's PourHouse and Kitchen in Milton, Oct. 19, 2015. Raitt was re-elected to the riding of Milton. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

It's a difficult day for Conservatives across Canada. Reduced to just 99 seats in the next Parliament, they've not only lost power, they've also lost the leader that unified the party in the first place.

Outgoing cabinet minister Lisa Raitt says it's time for the Conservative party to rebuild. She's now an opposition MP, representing Milton in southern Ontario.

What I heard at the doors is that they liked me, but they didn't appreciate our leadership.- Conservative MP Lisa Raitt

"Obviously our campaign did not bring out the vote that we needed in order to win a government. We have to take a really hard look at what happened," Raitt tells As it Happens host Carol Off.

While some have called this election a referendum on outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Raitt isn't convinced. She speculates that many Canadians simply had a desire for new leadership.

"Perhaps the change factor was the X-factor in this case."

Outgoing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pauses while addressing supporters during his concession speech in Calgary on Oct. 19, 2015. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Raitt, however, does admit that some people in her riding had problems with Harper's leadership style.

"I will be very frank. What I heard at the doors is that they liked me, but they didn't appreciate our leadership," she says. 

"I'd like to believe that our policies did resonate with Canadians, that they do believed in balanced budgets and that stuff. But how we communicated, it may not have been the best way and maybe that's something we have to take a look at." 

Raitt is being widely discussed as a contender to replace Harper. She insists that it's too early to talk about a new leader.

"There has to be a caucus meeting and there has to be a conversation about it," she says. "We're going to find out what happened in this election and how we can earn the trust of the Canadian voter again and come back to government one day."


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